February 2015 Feature Articles

February 2015 Self Help Articles
News You Can Use

PA Successful Practices in Secondary Transition Regional Sessions

High School Students ages 14-24 with disabilities, Family Members, Educators, Agency Staff and other Secondary Transition Stakeholders are invited to join Secondary Transition Leaders from across Pennsylvania to identify successful practices in secondary transition, resources and support services and strategies for transition to adulthood.

Dates and Locations (all sessions are from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm. Lunch will be served)

April 7, 2015 IU #4
453 Maple Street
Grove City, PA 16127

April 8, 2015 – PaTTAN Pittsburgh
3190 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

April 9, 2015 – Celebration Hall
2280 Commercial Boulevard
State College, PA 16801

April 10, 2015 – PaTTAN Harrisburg
6340 Flank Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17112

April 15, 2015 – PaTTAN KoP
200 Anderson Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406

April 17, 2015 – Lehigh Carbon Community College
4525 Education Park Drive
Schnecksville, PA 18078

If you are interested in participating in one or more of these sessions please RSVP by contacting: Patty Panuccio – ppanuccio@pattan.net or 412-826-6841.

Click here to download the flyer (PDF).

10 Reasons Homeless People Sleep Out in the Cold – and Die

You can’t miss them when you walk around a city: shapeless masses pressed up against buildings or into corners. Homeless people sleeping outside, even now when the temperature is cold and dropping. The lucky ones preserve their body heat under a pile of blankets; others make do with cardboard boxes or layers of clothes.

Some die. About 700 a year in the United States. The solution seems obvious: their lives would be saved if they slept in the warmth of a homeless shelter. But there aren’t enough shelter beds to go around, and some of the beds that do exist come with very unappealing strings attached.

Click here to read the entire article >

Immunizations: Power to Protect
You can’t keep your babies in a fish bowl. Protect them from 14 vaccine preventable diseases. For everyone’s sake…VACCINATE!

Giving babies the recommended immunizations by age two is the best way to protect them from 14 serious childhood diseases, like whooping cough and measles.

Ensure your baby is protected against these diseases by talking to your child’s doctor to verify your child is up-to-date on immunizations.

National Infant Immunization Week is April 18-25, 2015. This observation is held each year to highlight the importance of protecting children two years and younger from vaccine-preventable diseases.

For more information visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents

St. Martin/DPW Instructions and requirements for rental assistance:

  • DPW funding may cover up to 1 month rent
  • Will not be approved if the tenant is more than 1 month in arrears
  • Clients are required to be homeless or near homeless and meet each of the following requirements:
    • Have an agreement with the landlord to rent to them
    • Have sustainable income sufficient to pay rent in the future or have no income but reasonable expectations for sufficient income in the next 90 days
    • Have an income at or below 150 percent of poverty level
  • Individuals or families are homeless if they:
    • Are residing in a shelter, hotel/motel paid for with public or charitable funds; a mental health or rehab facility, jail, or hospital with no place to reside; due to a domestic violence needs a safe place to live
    • Have received verification that they are facing foster care placement of their children due to lack of adequate housing, or need housing to allow reunification with children
    • Are living in a "doubled-up" arrangement for six months or less on a temporary basis
    • Are living in a condemned building
    • Are living in housing in which the conditions present a threat to the life/ and or health of the individual who reside there


  • Verification of income (copies of paystubs, bank statements showing any Social security or SSI deposits, letters verifying DPW assistance, pensions, child support)
  • Eviction notice
  • Copy of lease
  • Photo ID for anyone over 18 years of age
  • Social Security cards for ALL family members

Clients will be advised by the appointment secretary of the documents that they are to bring with them on the day of the appointment. If a client comes to the appointment and is missing any of the documents, they must reschedule. That particular client CANNOT be given preference over another client. NO FUNDS will be reserved.
Clients with no-show appointments will be given 1 time ONLY to reschedule. If they do not show for the second appointment, they will not be given an additional appointment for rental assistance. Consideration will be given to those clients who call ahead to cancel and ask to schedule with good reason. This may be subject to additional inquiry (ex. A phone call placed to verify said Doctor Appointment)

For more information, please call the St. Martin Center at 814-452-6113

Community Care Member Advisory Committee Meetings
Let your voice be heard!

Community Care is a nonprofit managed care organization. We oversee behavioral health care services and programs that our members receive. Community Care works with providers to help them to deliver innovative and accessible, behavioral health services. Our belief is that behavioral health recovery is possible and that all individuals should have a voice in their treatment.

Our number one goal is to improve the quality of services for our members and families in the communities through a partnership focused on suggested recovery outcomes. We need your feedback to achieve that goal!

Who can attend?

  • Adult Community Care Members
    Members of Community Care are individuals who are currently enrolled in Pennsylvania HealthChoices.

Eligible Members who attend the meeting will receive:

  • Free refreshments
  • $35 for attending the entire meeting

Meetings for Erie County will be held on:

  • May 11, 2015
  • August 10, 2015
  • November 9, 2015

Time and Location

  • 2:00 – 3:30 pm
  • St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2216 Peach Street

*Attendees must register at least one week before each meeting by calling 1.855.310.0241

Community Care Family Advisory Committee Meetings
Let your voice be heard!

Community Care is a nonprofit managed care organization. We oversee behavioral health care services and programs that our members receive. Community Care works with providers to help them to deliver innovative and accessible, behavioral health services.

Our number one goal is to improve the quality of the mental health and substance abuse treatment services for children and youth. We can work together in a partnership focused on your child’s resiliency, health and well-being. We need your feedback to achieve that goal!

Who can attend?

  • Adult Family Members of Community Care Members
    Members of Community Care are individuals who are currently enrolled in Pennsylvania HealthChoices.

Eligible Family Members who attend the meeting will receive:

  • Free beverages (meals not included)
  • $35 for attending the entire meeting

Meetings for Erie County will be held on:

  • May 7, 2015
  • August 6, 2015
  • November 5, 2015

Time and Location

  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm
  • Hoss’s Steak & Seam 3302 West 26th Street

*Attendees must register at least one week before each meeting by calling 1.855.310.0241

Erie County and Erie Family Center Launch New Training Website Erie Encore

Last month, Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper announced the launch of www.ErieEncore.com, a new online training center offering on-demand training resources for human service agencies and professionals working with families and individuals in Erie County.

Encore was created to increase the overall knowledge and understanding of systems and services that work directly with families and individuals in Erie County (including Office of Children and Youth, Drug and Alcohol, Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Education, etc.). The site seeks to facilitate awareness across all systems by providing a wide array of relevant educational and training resources.

Encore was created by the Erie County Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Erie Family Center for Child Development. The website was funded by the Pennsylvania System of Care Partnership. Learn more at www.ErieEncore.com.

NAMI Support Groups
NAMI’s Family Support Group meets from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month and the Peer Support Group meets from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month. Both groups meet at NAMI of Erie County’s office, 1611 Peach Street, Suite 105, Erie, PA 16501. Free and open to the public, no registration or past participation in our programs is required.

"Everyong is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live his whole life believing that it is stupid."

- Albert Einstein

Submitted by Brian M., Sprout Contributor

Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Alarms Available to protect residents in Erie

Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are available through the City of Erie Fire Department and Safe Kids Erie partnership known as “Protect the Place You Call Home”. For more information call 870-1402.

Check out LearntobeHealthy.org!
LearntobeHealthy.org is an online health education center that has been designed to communicate physical and mental health science education concepts to students K-12 through health educational resources such as games, activities, and health education lesson plans. To learn more, visit www.learntobehealthy.org.

Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition Announces new Website to Aid in Fighting Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition (ECDAC) announces the launch of a new website that will aid Erie professionals to fight drug and alcohol abuse. The website, www.eriedrugandalcohol.org, was made possible, in part, with a grant from the Erie Community Foundation.

The Erie County Drug and Alcohol Coalition, established in 1993, is an all-volunteer 501(C)3 organization. The board of directors and general membership represent human service agencies, health professionals, law enforcement, parents, business and community leaders, elected officials and others concerned with the development of an integrated drug and alcohol education and prevention delivery system. ECDAD is the oldest coalition of its kind in Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit www.eriedrugandalcohol.org.

Bullying Hotline set up by Safe Harbor Behavioral Health
Students in grades K-12 who are being bullied can now get immediate help. A 24-hour hotline SAFELine has been set up by Safe Harbor Behavioral Health. They are currently working with school superintendents and other community leaders to schedule meetings to learn about the hotline.

The number to call is 814-456-SAFE (7233).

WebTool Locates Needed Resources

PEPNet has launched a new “Research Search” tool for www.pepnet.org which will improve access to the rapidly growing variety of PEPNet resources which address issues related to providing quality services to students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The revamped search feature makes it easier to find resources, and provides immediate and accessible references for site visitors, while expanding the site’s search capabilities.

The new feature will search everything in the PEPNet Dissemination Center (PDC) where we house a variety of products, such as handbooks, articles, conference proceedings/tipsheets/curricula/training materials/CDs/DVDs, videoclips, etc. In addition to searching the PDC, you also will be able to search the following offerings:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • PEPNet Listserv Past Posts
  • Current and Past PEPNet Perspectives
  • Training Materials

For more information, please visit www.pepnet.org.

Use Your Head and Prevent Flat Head Syndrome for your Baby
Flat Head Syndrome is a flat spot on the back or one side of your baby’s head. Being in the same position repeatedly causes this condition.

The first six weeks of your baby’s life is a vital period for you to prevent serious disorders in the future– like facial asymmetry and movement disorders.

Here are just a few tips:

  • Alternate your baby’s head direction when placing your baby to sleep on his or her back
  • Carry your child in your arms frequently
  • Use car seats only for riding in the car
  • Avoid extended time in swings and other reclined seats
  • Provide frequent, supervised tummy time when your baby is awake

Visit www.flatheadprevention.org to learn more.

This information provided by the Junior League of Erie, Women building better communities

Preparing for Post-Secondary Education at Disability.gov

This guide has tools for parents to prepare them for their child's transition from public school to postsecondary education and adulthood. Includes information about laws that protect parents' rights as well as the rights of adult children in college.

For more information, check out www.disability.gov.

PASchoolTalk is a new site that provides a forum for people who have concerns and ideas about public education in Pennsylvania.  Some ELL Task Force members have already joined the site.  We’d really like to see more ideas and information on ELL issues on the site – but that will only happen if more join.


Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote safe pregnancy and healthy birth outcomes, particularly among underserved populations.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby will help women in having safe and healthy pregnancies by providing them with information they need to give their babies the best possible start in life.

Text4baby is the largest national mobile health initiative to date and is being launched by an unprecedented group of public and private partners, including the White House and the Department of Health and Huma Services (HHS).

To sign up, text BABY or BEBE to 511411, or visit www.text4baby.org

New Resource Available for Parents and Educators

Learntobehealthy.org is an online health science learning site designed to help educators, parents and community leaders communicate important health concepts to students. The site contains comprehensive lesson plans, interactive games and activities, webquests and more. The goal of the site is to inspire students and their families to make health choices that will last a lifetime.

To learn more, visit www.learntobehealthy.org

Special Education Eligibility Guidelines

Parents if your child is eligible for special education did you know:

1. Only you can excuse professional members of the school team from your IEP meeting.  Fore example if your child has Speech, Occupational or Physical therapy only you can excuse their presence.

2. There should always be a special education teacher present and at least one of your child’s regular education teachers.

3. There should always be a local education agent at your meetings. (LEA rep)  This is a person authorized to approve an aide or any monies necessary to meet your child’s needs.

4. You can bring whoever you want to an IEP meeting.

5. IEP meetings should be held at your convenience and with enough time allotted to discuss and make changes to the draft document

6. You can ask for additional goals to be added to any IEP.

7. Goals must be clearly understood and be measurable. (A good rule of thumb, close your eyes and imagine your child doing this goal, if you can then it is probably a good goal for your child)

8. Education should take place in the least restrictive environment

9. Curriculum should be modified to meet your child’s needs.

10. You can always request an assistive technology evaluation. There are technologies available that support children who have a difficult time with Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Math to name a few.

11.  The Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) does not need to be signed at the IEP meeting.  This is the legal document that you sign agreeing with the child’s program, and placement.  It is always best to take home and read over the IEP changes and then decide whether or not you agree.  You have 10 days to do this or the IEP will go into effect whether you agree or not.

12. There are experts available from the IU 5 and PATTAN if your IEP team gets stuck on how to best support your child.

This information has been brought to you by Kathy L.
for more information contact Jill Hrinda-Patten Director of Mission Empower at 814-825-0788

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February 2015 The Family Voice
January 2015 The Youth Voice

February 2015 Ask The Advocate
The Family Voice The Youth Voice Ask The Advocate

In My Corner
My lawyer believed in me even when my family didn’t.
By Piazadora Footman Read Full Article

Making Healthy Connections With Your Family
Good health starts with eating the right foods and getting plenty of physical activity. Read Full Article

14 Activities for Advocates in Training
Read Full Article

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Raising Your Kin
No matter why or how they came to live with you, your relative’s children will benefit from being in your home. When children cannot be with their parents, living with a family member may provide...Read Full Article

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